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Coronavirus Regulations: A State-By-State Week In Review

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · December 15, 2020, 6:09 PM EST

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Delaware, New Jersey and New York in recent days, a beacon of hope that tempered additional business restrictions imposed over the past week on restaurants in the Big Apple and in Pennsylvania.

The encouraging arrival of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine coincided with calls by New Jersey and Delaware leaders for Congress to pass a $908 billion relief package that would fund, among other things, vaccine distribution efforts on state and local levels. Financial help materialized in the form of Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act funding for mental health in Florida and education in New Jersey, while Illinois announced plans to cut back on spending in 2021. 

In healthy news for Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf has recovered from his bout with the coronavirus. 

Here's a breakdown of some COVID-19-related state measures from the past week.

Click for state-by-state data on COVID-19 legislation and executive orders, powered by LexisNexis.


Multistate

During a press conference Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called on Congress to pass a $908 billion coronavirus relief package that would aid state, local and tribal governments, provide resources for first responders and frontline workers, and help state and local entities fund vaccine distribution.

Delaware

The state's first dose of the the vaccine was administered Tuesday at Bayhealth's Kent campus in Dover, Gov. John Carney announced jointly with health officials. Nurse Elisabeth Cote received the vaccine, which arrived at Bayhealth on Monday.

Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis on Friday announced that the state will receive $23 million in Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act funding to help the state's mental health services system and to support first responders.

Illinois

Citing the financial impact of the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced more than $700 million in spending reductions for fiscal year 2021 through a hiring freeze, grant reductions and operational savings. Cost-cutting measures could impose furloughs on public employees and take a chunk out of state prison operations, according to Pritzker.

New Jersey

The state's first doses of the vaccine were administered Tuesday at University Hospital's Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark during an event attended by Gov. Phil Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson.

On Thursday, Murphy and education officials announced $2.5 million in funding to enhance the academic performance of students experiencing learning loss resulting from pandemic-related school closures. Funded through the CARES Act, the "Addressing Student Learning Loss" grants will dole out awards to 16 school districts.

New York

The state on Saturday became the first in the nation to administer the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Long Island Jewish Medical Center Nurse Sandra Lindsay was the recipient.

Cuomo on Friday announced that he was suspending indoor dining in New York City, effective Dec. 14, and that health officials are directing hospitals statewide to add additional beds or eliminate elective surgeries, or both, in order to remain below 85% capacity.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday evening he received his second negative test since his diagnosis. The governor had a positive test on Dec. 8 and negative tests on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10.

Also on Thursday, Wolf announced that he was reviving his ban on indoor dining and alcohol sales, and on the operation of gym and fitness facilities, effective Dec. 12 through Jan. 4. He also imposed gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 50 individuals outdoors.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced the state's participation in Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a federal program to vaccinate residents and staffers in long-term care facilities. Workers from Walgreens and CVS will administer the vaccines beginning Dec. 28.

--Editing by Bruce Goldman.

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